Need a Moving Company? How to Pick the Best
Here’s everything you need to know to pick the moving company that’s going to help you get to that next stage.
You’re moving! You’re equal parts excited, anxious, and overwhelmed.
Okay, okay. If you don’t have a moving plan yet, you’re probably mostly overwhelmed.
You know you need a moving company to help. But you can’t just pick anyone. Because this is your stuff we’re talking about, and it needs to be handled with care.
Plus, you’ve heard the horror stories – about the move that cost way more than the initial estimate, the movers who damaged or lost cherished family heirlooms, and the movers who held belongings hostage until hefty sums were paid. These stories are scary because they’re real and not so uncommon.
Trust us, though, when we tell you that there are ways to protect yourself from an unhappy move.
Here’s everything you need to know to pick the moving company that’s going to help you get from where you’re at to where you’re going, and with all your stuff (including your sanity!) intact.
Do your research.
Yes, it will take your time and energy upfront and throughout to get this right. There’s no way around that. Lucky for you, we’re here to help break down the steps so you can accomplish them one at a time.
Ask family and friends about who they’ve used when they’ve moved. Because a story about a moving company from someone you know and trust is the best kind of information you can get. Period. Their good experiences will help end your search sooner, and their bad experiences will help you avoid moving disaster.
Maybe none of your family and friends have moved recently enough, or locally enough, to be able to share recommendations. In that case, get in touch with members of your local community who work with moving companies regularly as a part of their job – like real estate agents and contractors. They’ll be able to offer professional opinions to fill in for, or supplement, the stories you’re getting from family and friends.
Check out the recommended moving companies online.
Is the company’s site professional? Do they list a physical address, professional associations, their licensing and insurance? Do they receive favorable reviews?
Especially if you aren’t going on recommendations from those in your personal life or local community, you’ll want to read reviews from real customers.
It’s good if the company shows positive reviews on their own site because presumably, that means they’ve earned those good reviews. But always check other sources, too. Are there frustrated comments from former customers on their social media pages or on Yelp?
Meet your potential movers.
Even if you think you know the answers to basic questions, having researched their company online, it never hurts to ask the movers:
- How long has the moving company been in the moving business?
- Can they show proof of proper licensing and insurance?
- Does the company perform background checks before hiring its movers?
- Does the company rely on temporary or day-of movers?
- Does the company have a dispute settlement program?
- How long will the move take? How many movers will work your case? Will you be charged if the job goes into overtime?
How professional do the movers seem during the in-home estimate interview? Can they answer your questions? Are they sure about the services they offer, and how much those services cost? Do they have appropriate questions for you?
Do they have experience making a move like the one you’re about to hire them for? Are they measuring doorways to make sure they’ve got a plan for getting your couch from your living room to the truck?
You’ll get a gut feeling, and you shouldn’t ignore it.
If you know you’re bad at judging these sorts of interactions, plan the in-home estimate for a time when a family member or close friend can come along, too. It never hurts to have another nose on your team, helping you sniff out the rats.
Still, here are a few more red flags to check for:
A reputable moving company won’t ask for a cash deposit before you move. If the company seems too eager to be paid before they’ve performed their service you should move on to another company.
A professional moving company owns their own equipment, so don’t work with a company that shows up in a rented (or non-branded) van.
Ask for a business card. Can the movers produce one? Can you verify their business address as you found it on their site?
Choose your movers.
Get the best value for your money.
When it’s final decision time, don’t settle on a moving company simply because of a lower price. First, ask yourself: what am I sacrificing for that lower price? Is the sacrifice going to cost me more in the end? What price should I put on the safe and timely transport of my belongings?
Draw up an inventory list.
Make sure you and your movers know exactly what they are responsible for moving, and the condition the pieces are in before the move. You’ll need that proof in case something is damaged or broken during the move.
Now you’re probably realizing why we suggested asking about their dispute settlement program. You can never be too sure, and even the most professional and most reputable movers make mistakes sometimes. If they lose or damage something of yours, what can you do about it? What will they do about it?
On moving day…
Check that your movers know your new address, so you all end up in the same (and correct) place. Review the move schedule, too, and be sure there’s a way to communicate both ways throughout the move. If you’ve got a question or update to share as the move is underway, who do you call? And vice versa.
Get to your new space ahead of the movers, and with a plan for where you’ll ask the movers to place all the items they’re moving – especially those heavy pieces of furniture. It’ll save you time, energy, and back pain. And it’ll help you feel moved in from the first night in your new space.
Are you ready to start this process now?
Put us to our own test. Fill out the form online to schedule a free in-home estimate.
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